Chains Unbound

Shadow's Path (Althea's Story) pt. 3

Shadowmage

It all began when the group decided to enter the odd black marble mansion with the weird shadows emanating from its windows. Then the entryway was swallowed by shadows and disappeared, and it all went downhill from there…

The group ventured into the library and was greeted by a mysterious voice coming from everywhere at once. They bantered for a bit, then the voice mentioned that it knew Shinlea had failed because the Avengers existed, and were here in his mansion. As the voice trailed off, a lone shadow coalesced into a humanoid shape armed with wickedly sharp kukiri. It stabbed at Althea, then took off through the wall and out of the room. The group dithered within the library for a while, with everyone watching the shadows with weapons bared. Urgar took one look at the candles and books on the bookshelves and decided to raise some havoc, then began extinguishing the candles and clearing the books off of the shelves and into his bag of holding.

Althea and Blaze headed into the hallway, past the door that the shadow ran through. They found that it led into another pitch-black hallway, one that was likewise lined with the candles that ate light. Althea opened the door at the other end of the hallway, then heard a voice from the library that yelled, “Touch not my books, Dwarf!” She and Blaze immediately headed back to the library to see what was going on.

Meanwhile, in the library, a tall shadar-kai man(?) dressed in a flowing wizard’s robe passed through the eastern wall and attacked Peony, her wolf, and Virgil. He bound Peony with shadows that restrained her and caused her to slowly rot, then unleashed a probability storm around him that caused odd things to happen. It changed the color of Virgil and Blaze’s clothes to a bruise-like purple, then caused them to slowly rot away. The wizard then stood there and waited for someone to swing at him, which Peony gladly did. He smiled an evil smile and faded back through the wall he arrived through.

The smaller shadowy humanoid that initially attacked the group reappeared and took a stab at Peony’s wolf, then got more than he bargained for as he was promptly ambushed by several other Avengers when he came out of his hiding spot. Their attacks killed the creature, which exploded in a shadowy burst. Althea immediately scanned the area for her rapier, which she had dropped earlier and had stolen by the creature. Alas, it was not there, and the group decided to head out and look for the room that the shades were hiding in. Before they left, Urgar casted a spell on the group that granted protection against the rotting necrotic powers that the shades seemed to be using. The Avengers would soon find this protection to be worth its weight in platinum.

Virgil and Althea lead the charge into the northern hallway, and soon found another door, which led into the wizard’s bedchamber. As soon as Virgil entered the room, he found himself beset upon by a pair of spirit devourers, hideous creatures that seemed to be a walking nightmare of shadows and teeth. The most horrifying aspect of these creatures was revealed when the devourers bent over Virgil and Urgar and inhaled them, which caused them to vanish. To them, it seemed that they had been imprisoned in a demiplane of shadow, one from which escape was difficult and uncertain. The devourers then passed through the bedroom’s southern wall and into another chamber.

In this chamber, they disgorged Virgil and Urgar into specially prepared magic circles, which immediately configured themselves to trap the adventurers inside of them. Frustrated, Virgil and Urgar paced around their circles while the devourers casually clawed at them through the circle, then left to get more victims. Then the wizard appeared through the western wall of the chamber, and Virgil decided that he had enough. Figuring that he couldn’t affect the circle directly, he took a gamble and decided to use a blessing of Correlion to switch places with Urgar. Due to a design flaw within the circles (one which I will be fixing, see the houserules fixed, according to ritual writeup in character builder; see comments), this gambit payed off, and both Virgil and Urgar switched places, freeing them from their magical prisons.

Urgar unleashed the full wrath of his magic, sending a blizzard against the wizard that froze him in place, then smashing him in the face with a few magic missiles. Althea had just been dropped into the third magic circle in the room, and Urgar immediately ran over to it and obscured the runes drawn into the black marble tiles, freeing her. Althea then spotted her stolen rapier inside a locked cage, so she moved next to it, shot at the wizard (who immediately turned into an insubstantial shadow and melted through the wall), and began working on the cage’s lock.

Blaze and Peony, the only two Avengers that hadn’t been captured by the devourers, ran the long way along the eastern wall until they came to a large hallway with some gargoyle statues in it. Peony feared that they were traps, but inspected them and found them to be just statues. She and Blaze then ran into the southern hall and banged on the wizard’s chamber door. Althea quickly picked the lock on the door and let them in, then told them that the wizard wasn’t here, and that they should look for him. They continued down the hall to do just that.

Earlier in the fight, a probability storm that the wizard unleashed resulted in Peony’s wolf being teleported outside of the building. That wolf went and found the wizard hobo that tipped the Avengers off to this house and led him inside the house, which made the front door visible again. He then said that he’d like some gold for helping the doggy find its master, and for helping the Avengers out. Blaze quickly yelled that they could discuss payment after they all made it out in one piece, and he and Peony ran back into the library to pursue the wizard and devourer.

They got there just as the devourer disgorged Virgil, and the three of them redoubled their efforts to finish off their shadowy foes. This is where we will continue next week.

Comments

So, that trick Virgil used to escape from the magic circle shouldn’t have been possible. According to the magic circle ritual in character builder, “An affected creature who’s level is lower than your Arcana check result -10 cannot pass through the circle, affect creatures through the circle’s boundary, or affect the boundary in any way.” I take this to mean that you can’t project your powers (or make melee/ranged basic attacks) through the circle’s boundary, ever. I probably should have checked character builder for that, since it looked like it’s been errata’d since the PHB came out. Oh well.

Aikanaka

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